Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District

703-324-1460 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Parkway
Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035
Willie Woode
Executive Director

Native Seedling Sale

We are now sold out of seedlings

The seedlings have all been sold!  We appreciate the tremendous response we received from the community and all the excitement about native plants, rain barrels and composters!  Seedling (composters and rain barrels, too!) pickup will be Friday, March 31, 2023 from 9am-4pm and Saturday, April 1, 2023 from 9am-12pm at Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club, 3516 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church VA 22044. Any seedlings not collected at pickup will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. Seedlings must be purchased in advance; no day of sales or extras will be offered, and no refunds will be given for uncollected seedlings.

Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations. We look forward to seeing you at the 2023 seedling sale!


Spring & Summer Berries and Blooms Package - 6 seedlings for $17

2 American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) - PURPLE RIBBON

American Elderberry

  • 6-12' tall, large shrub
  • Grows best in partial shade and moist soils, but very tolerant
  • Small, white flowers June-July
  • Dark purple berry-like fruit August-September
  • Great food source for birds
  • Special value to native bees
  • Nectar source for many butterflies
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8

2 Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) - BLACK RIBBON

Black Chokeberry

  • 3-6' tall, small shrub
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dry to wet soils
  • White or pinkish-white flowers April-May
  • Deep purple berries and crimson red foliage in autumn
  • Hardy shrub prominent in wet meadows and rocky soils
  • Can be pruned as a hedge
  • Birds and mammals feed on the berries
  • Hardiness Zone: 3-8

2 Eastern Redbud (Cercis candensis) - PINK RIBBON

Eastern Redbud

  • 20-30' tall, small-to-medium sized tree
  • Part to full shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • Pinkish flowers in April, brown or black pod-shaped fruit in mid-summer
  • Special value to native bees, attracts butterflies and birds
  • Fixes nitrogen in the soil
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9


Fall & Winter Fruits and Nuts Package - 6 Seedlings for $17

2 Allegheny Chinquapin (Castanea pumila) - YELLOW RIBBON

Allegheny Chinquapin

  • 15-20' tall, small tree
  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Dry, well-drained soils
  • Pale yellow flowers in June
  • Sweet, edible nuts mature in September
  • Closest native relative of the American Chestnut
  • Good cover for wildlife
  • Birds and mammals feed on the nuts
  • Hardiness Zone: 5-9

2 American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) - ORANGE RIBBON

American Persimmon

  • 30-60' tall, tall tree
  • Full sun to full shade
  • Dry to moist soils
  • Bell-shaped yellow or cream-colored flowers in June
  • Edible orange fruit mature in autumn
  • Yellow or purple fall foliage
  • Birds and mammals feed on the fruit
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-9

2 Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) - WHITE RIBBON

Gray Dogwood

  • 8-12' tall, medium-to-large shrub
  • Full sun to full shade
  • Dry to moist soils (prefers moist soil but grows in many soil types and tolerates many conditions)
  • Clusters of white flowers May-June
  • Attractive white berries with red stems August-September
  • Good nectar source
  • Birds and mammals feed on the berries
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8


Hardiness Zone

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows 10 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for plants. Fairfax County falls into zones 6b-7a. All of our seedlings are suited for planting in the greater Washington, DC area.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of our most frequently asked Seedling Sale questions and helpful answers from NVSWCD staff.

What’s the skinny on the Seedling Sale?

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District holds a Native Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale each spring. The theme and exact species vary from year to year. In 2023, the seedlings will be available for pickup at the Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet Club in Falls Church on Friday March 31, 2023 from 9am-4pm and Saturday April 1, 2023 from 9am-12pm.

When should I place my order?

Orders for the 2023 Native Seedling Sale open on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 9:00am. We sell out very quickly, within a day or two in recent years, so please place your orders as soon as possible to ensure availability.

Are there extras? Can I just show up at pickup?

No, in-person sales will not be available this year in an effort to reduce crowding at the pickup location.

Can my spouse/child/parent/neighbor/best friend pick up my order for me?

Yes. They will need to have your first and last name and a generally honest disposition. A printout of the order confirmation is helpful but not required. We understand this is an unusual time. Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations.

What happens if I miss the pickup date?

Don’t miss the pickup date! If you can’t make it, please send a friend! (See above.) We understand this is an unusual time. Please contact NVSWCD prior to the seedling sale date should you require accommodations. There will be no seedling order pickups after the sale. If your order is not collected on the pickup date, it will be donated to a reforestation project in Fairfax County. Seedling sale purchases are nonrefundable.

How large are the packages?Small boy and girl hold seedling packages

Smaller than you might think! These are first- and second-year bare-root trees and shrubs, which means they are small and come without soil. We add a colored ribbon, put together each package, and wrap the roots in wet newspaper and a plastic bag to keep them moist. In the photo at right, each child is holding one package. Each package of 6 seedlings bundled together is typically 1-3 feet long and 4-6 inches wide.

What were last year's ribbon colors?

Check out our new page, Previous Years' Seedling Ribbon Colors, for species names and the color of the ribbon (flagging tape) we used to identify it. You can see this year's seedling ribbon colors and tips and tricks for planting your seedling in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. 

What should I bring with me for pickup?

A small bucket or basket. You don’t want the package to tip over and spill water on your backseat. Don’t have a bucket? A sturdy double paper bag or large trash bag will do the job.

How do I care for them?

You can learn about bare root seedling care (as well as other tree-related advice) in the Fairfax County Tree Basics Booklet from NVSWCD and the Fairfax County Tree Commission. Keep the roots moist and plant your seedlings as soon as possible. We provide a planting guide when you pick up your seedlings. Dig a hole wider than it is deep. We recommend watering throughout the summer for the first year, especially if your tree or shrub is in direct sunlight. Fertilizer is not needed. A light top-dressing of leaf mulch is optional. 

Worried about deer browse? All of the shrubs and trees in this year's packages would be considered to be moderately vulnerable to deer browse. You can learn more about deer tolerant native plants and protecting your seedlings from deer browse in this resource from Plant NOVA Natives. 

How fast will they grow?

The seedlings typically start out in a dormant state, but when cared for properly, they can grow into lovely landscape specimens faster than you think. Each species has a different growing speed. Since it can be difficult to protect a small first-year seedling from mowers, deer, rabbits and – occasionally – human feet, we include two of every species in the packages.

Rarely – once every several years – we have had a supplier issue (not VDOF) where a large number of seedlings of a particular shrub or tree have not survived. In those cases, we give feedback to the supplier and monitor their seedlings in following years to ensure that it is not a repeat occurrence. Even when that happens, we believe the benefit and low cost we offer by purchasing in bulk outweighs the risk. It’s still a great deal!

Where do you get the seedlings?

Typically we get most of our seedlings from the Virginia Department of Forestry. We like to support our state forestry department and help increase demand for native trees and shrubs. We also purchase seedlings from other neighboring states and private nurseries.

What are the funds used for?

Good question! First, the funds cover the cost of the seedlings and associated program costs. NVSWCD uses any leftover funds to support educational programs, including the high school Envirothon competition, biological stream monitoring, storm drain education, Youth Conservation Camp, Science Fair awards, and other outreach activities. Thank you for supporting these efforts through the Seedling Sale!

Have more questions? Feel free to contact us. 

Fairfax Virtual Assistant